As a manager, there are good chances that you will have to lead a difficult conversation with the team from time to time. Difficult conversation involves topics that you don’t want to talk about, situations where you are not sure how to say and what to say, conflicting opinions, circumstances where the outcome is uncertain, or discussion which might make both parties feel uncomfortable.
Difficult conversations are a normal part of work-life. But the truth is, if managers could choose, many would love to avoid such conversations because it makes them feel uncomfortable. The fear of hurting someone’s feelings and dealing with potential drama and conflict might hold them back from carrying out the conversations.
An Interact survey conducted online by Harris Poll found that the majority (69 percent) of managers said that they are often uncomfortable communicating with employees. Over a third (37 percent) of managers surveyed said that they are uncomfortable having to give direct feedback about their employee’s performance if they think the employee might respond negatively to the feedback.
Unfortunately, avoiding difficult conversations might not be the best choice because most workplace problems will not go away by themselves. In fact, avoiding difficult conversations could result negatively for the company, employees, and managers themselves. The impacts include the following:
In conclusion, difficult conversation might be hard and uncomfortable to conduct but it is a must. It is essential for managers to have the skills, knowledge and confidence to identify and manage problems at work early on.
Psychologist Herb Clark said: human communication is optimised for small numbers of people to talk together face-to-face in real-time. The further we get from this ideal situation, the more opportunities for communication to go awry.
Due to today’s circumstances, many managers have to conduct meetings virtually since employees are asked to work from home during Coronavirus lockdown. That being said, managers need to prepare for the difficult parts of handling conversation virtually, such as miscommunication or lack of technical support. To help managers get ease over the tension, here are some tips to try.